Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunlight

Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

--Justice Louis Brandeis, Other People’s Money

A comment came in today’s thread from an anonymous Group member/sympathizer: “Gay chicano literature (gay/lesbian chicana literature) is not more narrow than some of the work of say, American constitutional, diplomatic, economic, or legal historians, some of whom study only ten years of time or a single event.”

Since my books cover time-spans of, respectively, 22, 87, 46, and 43 years, the claim is a general one, not an attack against me.

Duke is a university in the United States, with the overwhelming majority of its students U.S. citizens. Somehow, I doubt we’ll see on its admissions webpage: “Send your child to Duke, where our faculty members believe that, when prioritizing resources, it’s equally important to have specialists in gay/lesbian chicano/a literature as it is to have experts in U.S. constitutional, diplomatic, economic, or legal history.”

The same commenter suggested that Duke alums might very well agree with his/her statement. Perhaps, as their next crusade, the Group of 88 should take out a full-page ad (in “the most easily seen venue on campus”) asking the Alumni Office to pass along the above comment to all Duke graduates to solicit reaction.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good laugh KC -

Anonymous said...

Ah! So that's what this is about! They didn't hire you!

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.01:

As I have stated previously: I have never applied for a job at Duke, am not currently a candidate for a job at Duke, and have no interest in the future in teaching at Duke.

If any of the above were not the case, I would not have done the blog. If the first were true, it could have exposed me to conflict-of-interest charges and nullified the effectiveness of the blog; if the second or third were true, my critique of the Duke faculty would have been professionally suicidal.

Anonymous said...

Oh, right. A totally unprecedented revolution and upheaval in how government is structured, in the relations between government and the governed, in human rights (however imperfectly), and in the relationship between colonized and colonizing lands, is of course less significant -- because it happened mainly in 1776 (and involved "white" people) -- than a series of anecdotes about hispanic peoples buggering each other, because the latter took place over a longer period of time. Ugh.

Know what? Bugger off, mate.

Anonymous said...

KC,

You're misrepresenting what was said. Revise and resubmit!

Gary Packwood said...

Actually there is the Mayor Ray Nagin School of Advertising that suggests any news story is a good thing for Duke or New Orleans.

Such thinking is somewhat risky however as folks tend to believe their own press releases.

Like Mayor Ray Nagin, Gay/lesbian Chicana Literature studies at Duke will benefit greatly from a dose of Sunlight from time to time.

Suppose the Mayor of New Orleans has been advising the G88 and Nifong since late 2005?

They sure don't let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
::
GP

Anonymous said...

OK, if not Duke, then which top department? The above entry reads like it comes out of the bitter after-wash of your bad tenure battle. It also reads like a general frustration that your career hasn't landed you at one of those top schools.

And you compare yourself to Viego here? A person who has just been promoted to Associate and is still near the start of his career? You think that Viego's tenure-line accounts for some US studies scholar getting pushed out? These are all fantasies and have nothing to do with how a department such as Literature decides to hire versus one named History.

I don't do psychoanalytic criticism, but this entry is screaming for a therapist to help it sort out a whole lot of emotional and professional baggage.

Anonymous said...

KC, Your response to my comment is really fascinating. You condemned someone's work as narrow, which in your opinion, it is. I noted that some people consider legal and a variety of other kinds of history "narrow." You spoke for Duke alums to assert that they would agree with you. I suggested you might not be correct: some alums might not agree and we do NOT know having no data. These are difference of opinions.

You then attack my comments by "88ing" them. I'd say your pique is showing.

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.20:

(a) I wasn't comparing myself to Viego. I was pointing out that the commenter was not attacking me personally, but attacking the field.

(b) The last job for which I applied was Brooklyn College. I came to Brooklyn after four years in a tenure-track job at Williams, turning down an offer to be brought up immediately for tenure to remain. Most people would consider Williams a "top school."

(c) The comparison between the literature field and the history field was made not by me, but by the commenter.

Anonymous said...

KC,

Calm down. Call off the hounds. There was no attack. Someone looks very think skinned.

Anonymous said...

To the 3.01:

Duke clearly isn't good enough for any scholar of K.C.'s stature. Indeed, Duke is no longer good enough for *any* scholar of any stature. Any serious scholar would have to be nuts to even contemplate accepting an offer from Duke, aside, *perhaps,* from the engineering depts.

What the Hoax revealed about Duke as a Univ. -- and it's so-called leadership (Brodhead and the other clowns) -- is a level of corruption that shocks even the most jaded academic cynics.

Duke Univ. and Durham are little more than cesspools.

Anonymous said...

KC is a global kind of guy. Living in New York is his thing - can not imagine him considering going to backwater Durham. He lived in Boston and Chicago, with a short stint in another backwater Williamstown. I do not think Ithaca is on his list either.

Anonymous said...

I imagine the millions KC will get from the book and having a best seller will help soothe his feeling. Baiting a whale would be more productive that trying to bait KC.

Anonymous said...

All this bickering and the outcome is still the same: KC will be famous in multiple circles of lawyers, scholars and academics, who will forever analyze the ramifications of a precedent-setting event. He will be published, widely-read, invited to speak, appear on TV, be quoted, used as a role model for the impact of blogging on our nation's legal system....and none of the G88 ever will. Na-na-na-na-na.
KC is brilliant and successful and famous --- you aren't. Losers.

Anonymous said...

3:20 PM

Are you having difficulty defending the contributions to society of floating the phalli and its relevance to the betterment of human kind?

Surely the classics are such a bore. Have we nothing quantitative to expect from you?

Eric

Anonymous said...

My husband went to Cornell in the 60's. He always remembered it as "the place freshmen get depressed and commit suicide by jumping off the Gorge." I imagine having Grant there now will not improve the situation.

Anonymous said...

3:20 glad you do not do "drive by psych " analysis. Although, we just lost one of those, we have enough "side walk analysist" as it is.

Anonymous said...

KC is clearly a professor who cares about students and likes to teach. That is why he is where he is. It appears that would disqualify him for a position at Duke, in any event.

I was fortunate to have many student-oriented professors in my academic career. I find the G88's treatment of their own students despicable, and their refusal to apologize a lack of character.

From these profiles, I suspect that the G88 may realize the paucity of their own academic credentials. The false accusations provided an opportunity to justify their own existence. Their motivation may have been not all that different from Mr. Nifong.

-RD

Anonymous said...

To 3:34: Duke is not a cesspool. It does, however, has a cesspool that needs to be drained.

Anonymous said...

KC:

I believe you've touched a nerve or two here. Congratulations! You've accomplished what many have been unable to do so far - that is, you've flushed out the G88 into conversation. I wonder if they will sign their comments?

Duke/Princeton Parent

Anonymous said...

3:39 That says it all. good post

Anonymous said...

Just a question, KC. Did you ever imagine when you started you blog that this would be the end result?

Anonymous said...

A couple of points.

First, I am a Duke grad and tired of commentators saying Duke is an overall cesspool etc. I am as down on the Group of 88 as anybody, I can't believe these folks are at my alma mater, but it is absurd to say that they are representative of the many other faculty members at the school.

Second, anyone who tries to argue that gay chicano literature is as narrow as constitutional law or american history is delusional. The reason that scholars in areas such as constitutional history cover smaller time periods is that the filed is so rich, not because it is shallow. I could cover 2000 years of the history of flicking my ear with my thumb, that would not make it as rich and interesting as studying the civil rights legislation of the 1960's.


Third, I can't believe how pathetic the resumes of these faculty are and how dense and pointless the writing.

KC Johnson said...

To the 4.38:

No! I thought the case, however, would be over by Sept. 2006, with public pressure forcing Nifong to dismiss all charges. I also had expected some action by Duke to express displeasure with the Group of 88.

Wrong on both counts . . .

AMac said...

I continue to be amused by comments such as today's 3:27pm --

Anonymous said...

KC, Your response to my comment is really fascinating...


Anon, since you and many contributors like you choose to post under "Anonymous," your readers cannot identify which comments are yours, and thus can't follow your arguments as you develop them.

Your cohort may be brilliant writers, showing us cave-dwellers a thing or two... but you keep ignoring lesson one of writing for your audience.

Anonymous said...

The great Justice would add today "security and traffic light cameras are also the best policeman." The view of the bridge collapposing was amazing. we need a traffic light camera on every street in America. We have people stopping for red lights in the middle of the night - with no one around - we are doing okay. We need to stop the light runners.

Anonymous said...

Holy crow, this blog just took a turn for the delicious. 88'ers taking time away from their... well, taking their time, at least... to duel. Curricula vitae at twenty paces. Fabulous!

But don't let me interrupt. Carry on. The world, including a whole flock of tuition-paying Duke parents, is watching. Don't worry - it's only the reputation of one of the ten best educational institutions on the line.

Anonymous said...

Not really off topic

I graduated from Boston College in 2000. I double majored in English Literature and Romance Languages.

I recommend posters here visit the English dept at Boston College, focusing on the academic pursuits of the full-time faculty. BC is obviously a better school than Duke; the Jesuits would never sit still for the incompetence of these neer-do-wells.

And Professor Horwitz, Karla Holloway would never be offered a job at BC; as her "Bodies of Evidence" screed proves, she can neither think nor write.

DC lawyer said...

This is my first comment of any sort on any blog. I have read Durham-in-Wonderland as often as I can and I have several comments:

1. KC should be commended by all people of good will. He has done a service to the nation by pointing out a particular vile injustice to three thoroughly decent young men.

2. Those bloggers who demean KC after what he has done are either dishonest, blind or have a particular axe to grind.

3. I detest the comments that deal with Democrats or Republicans in the context of this case. This is not a political issue. There are good people in both parties just as there are horrible ones.

4. Duke and perhaps all of academia have a major problem. It started with the rush to judgement by the 88 but the light shown on the incredibly marginal scholarship of several of these professors casts considerable doubt on what is taught at elite institutions.

5. Duke's reputation is so low now that, whatever the published rankings of colleges and universities, it is no longer considered a place where parents in my set would be proud to place their children.

6. I hope Duke is an anomaly but I doubt it.

7. KC: I know that the personal attacks on you are hurtful but, in addition to the numerous commenters who have steadfastly shown you their support, there are no doubt countless thousands who, like me, have never expressed our support. Thanks for helping mitigating the effects of this tragedy. Please keep it up if you can.

Anonymous said...

Duke, a top 10 American university? LOL !!

Anonymous said...

dc lawyer,

Thanks for making a comment.

This is not a political issue. : Wrong. G88ers are on the extreme side of Left (aka, Democrat).

Duke is an anomaly: Your doubts are well-founded. If a backwater like Durham hosts this freakshow, imagine what's happening at UC Berkeley!!

I'm glad to see some wounded G88ers coming into the light. I welcome your incomprehensible defense.

coca-cola can said...

DC lawyer --

Hear, hear to all your points, especially 1, 2, 3 and 7. In relation to 4 -- one thing that I think is interesting is that some of the trolls such as the ones at 3:01 and 3:20 are certainly trying to appear as, if not academics, knowledgeable in the ways of the academic world. Of course, unless we actually get a confession from Karla Holloway or Wahneema Lubiano we won't know for sure that it's one of the Group of 88, feeling free to employ the tactics of harassment they deplored when those tactics were (purportedly) used against them. However, if it is, what a statement that makes -- supposedly professional academics, supposed pursuers of truth, finding themselves unable to refute KC's cogent analyses and resorting instead to pathetic ad hominem arguments, both personam and circumstantiae, that would once have been considered fatal errors in a college sophomore's essay.

inman said...

I am heartened by the recent appearance of folks such as the DC lawyer at 6:10. For it tells me that the movement toward a more just system is gaining momentum. It tells me that others in this country also value and honor the traditions upon which our judicial system was built.

I am reminded of Thomas Paine's review of the Crisis in which he said:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Reade, Collin and Dave may very well be the first patriots of a new war to end a tyranny of inequality and injustice caused in part by a liberal government that ignored Martin Luther King. Yes,...ignored, for the legislation passed by Congress, however well intentioned, has made it a requirement to ignore the content of character, to ignore the individual and to focus on the race. I prefer Dr. King's prescription of focusing on the content of character. Grant Farred clearly doesn't.

I'm sure that Dr. King is rolling in his grave every time Grant Farred or Eduardo Bonilla-Silva speak.

One Spook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

I don't know which the Gang has shamed worse - university professors or doctoral degrees.

Both have been degraded by this ignorant, bullying, cowardly Gang of jerks.

no justice, no peace said...

If KC were not making waves, the Klan of 88 and their abettors would not need to respond.

The Japanese would not have needed Tokyo Rose had we rolled over after Pearl Harbor.

For some reason these past few posts remind me of the commercial with all of the cock roaches screaming "Raid!" Too damn funny.

The questions remain...who hired the frauds and who will vote to replace the ones leaving? It's neither you, nor I, brothers and sisters.

don t. said...

Why you persist in carrying on a dialogue with these intellectual maggots is beyond me. Sorta tantamount to brodhead (the feckless stumblebum) discussing educational policy with 1st graders ..... well, maybe that is not a good analogy.

Cannot begin to tell you, K.C., how appreciative we all are for all you have done over the past year and a half.

trinity60

Anonymous said...

I've witnessed KC's critics fall back on name calling and hand waving in the face of overwhelming and cogently presented facts and reasoning presented by KC. Namely,

(1) The Duke admin/profs must be right and KC wrong because Duke is an “elite institution” compared to Brooklyn.

(2) Anyone outside the academic tribe of Angry Identity Studies (AIS) like KC are Philistines and cannot comprehend the truth and beauty of such and lack the moral right to do so

The appeal to authority in (1) simply exposes to what degree Duke/academia has become infected with this type angry identity study PC-rot. Anyone appealing to authority on the basis of demonstrated 88 groupthink or individual idiocracy makes the parody more complete. I’d much rather listen to someone intelligent from Brooklyn than waste time teasing some sense out of these intellectual noise machines at Duke.

Regarding (2), of course no one outside Angry Identity Studies is competent to judge AIS because it a cult founded on faith. Reason or facts are only selectively and inconsistently woven into the narrative as we have so often seen here.

The problem with creating silly departments that hand out meaningless PhDs to egotistical revolutionaries is that it further enables them to act out on their anti-social tendencies. All one needs is an agenda, blind passion and a feeble mind to uncritically see a burning bush of truth in a semi-random mix of bad grammar, invented words (via obtusifying lingomacation) and rambling reasoning. The fact that some still see the Emperors’ old clothes illustrates just how blinding this faith can be.

Anonymous said...

KC,

Enjoyed your responses to the "irritants"!

Anonymous said...

I think it is fair to say that most academics and non-academics buy into the notion that, all things considered, it is better to be at an elite institution (as faculty, students, or alum)than somewhere else. It is very hard to swallow that Wahini or Viego are permanently at one and they are not. I suffer from this syndrome myself - I have a son and even after all I have read on this blog, I can't help but prefer that he go to Duke over, say, the University of Florida or Brooklyn College.

Anonymous said...

Why is this comment an "attack" and why do you assume it indicates sympathy with the 88? Is this your way of attacking ideas/opinions with which you disagree?

jim2 said...

dc lawyer -

Nice post!

I would like to make one observation, though. The vast preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that the LAX case was pursued by a Democrat for personal political gain (win an election), and that it was possible only because its "narrative" fit so well with the agendas of the local Democrat base.

Ralph Phelan said...

Anonymous 8:07 said
"Anonymous said...
Why is this comment an "attack" and why do you assume it indicates sympathy with the 88? Is this your way of attacking ideas/opinions with which you disagree?"

Sigh. The problem with getting the 88ists out of the woodwork and arguing their points is they're so stupid they can't even handle the format competently.

The author of this post is addressing someone else's comment on a third post. The question at hand is whether the subject-of-discussion post is an "attack." That shouldn't be hard to follow. But....

We don't know who this author is as he's given us no way way of distinguishing his anonymous posts from all the other anonymous posts. Is this his first, or has he contributed a body of posts which lay out some point or position in a coherent manner? There is no way to tell.

He gives us no way of knowing which post is the one of the 42 so far is the one he is responding to.

He gives no indication which post of the 42 so far is the subject of discussion.

It his hard to imagine a more useless blog comment.

Or, to be more succinct - huh?

Given the quality of your debating skills I have to ask - are you a Womens Studies major?

Anonymous said...

To Ralph Phelan, Who insults rather than debates. The post was to KC, since he's the one who wrote the blog entry...

Sorry it wasn't clear to you. To borrow a page from your style of discourse, were you down doing shop in high school? (That is the level of your comments as far as I am concerned.)

What, do you think Women's Studies majors can't/don't debate? What would make you think that? I'm not one, but I don't see any reason why any Women's Studies major would want to speak to you, since you seem to denigrate their major.

What's with you?

Anonymous said...

Ralphie,

If you can up scroll, you'll see that KC's blog is the only the one to which I could have been responding:

Second line, second paragraph ("attack"); third line, last paragraph (88).

Sorry I made the mistake of assuming you could dot i's and cross t's without someone holding your hand!!!

Again: it doesn't seem to me that any of you--and this includes KC above all--are showing good rehtorical/analytical skills when you attack as "pro 88" (or "troll") any ideas with which you disagree. KC, if he were as analytical superior as many of you seem to think, would have recognized the difference between disagrement and attack.

Ralph Phelan said...

'Why is this comment an "attack"'
KC said it isn't an attack. Why are you asking a moot question?

"and why do you assume it indicates sympathy with the 88?"
Because we have observed that having a trendy race/class/gender-based research agenda is strongly correlated with both membership in and sympathy for the Group of 88.

"Is this your way of attacking ideas/opinions with which you disagree?"
This little passive-aggressive snark is what earned you my active-aggressive contempt.

Anonymous said...

Ralphie darling, sorry you feel your little self snarked, but:

KC: "The claim is a general one, not an attack against me."

The comment ("claim") was not an attack against anyone, so why did KC make a statement that any fool could have figured out on his/her own???? It was a matter of opinion. And, last I checked, we are allowed such things in the US, without our ideas and comments just happening to be paired with the G88, which on this list, so far as I can tell, is worse than being compared with the devil.

BTW, I would be appalled if someone like you had anything but contempt for me!!! Your opinions shock me.

Anonymous said...

RP (con't.)

Is it correct to infer that your earlier comment was a blanket attack on Women's Studies and all who enter there?!!!! Or just a wee little snarkle...

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.35:

You're correct that my CV is available. I believe in transparency.

While the original commenter (it's unclear whether you are the original commenter, or another anonymous commenter) specifically mentioned my fields in his/her comment, I agree that "any fool" (or at least anyone who knows math and wanted to purchase my four books) could have figured out that none of my books had a 10-year time-span. Yet it hardly seems unreasonable for me to have provided the book time-spans rather than forcing everyone to look them up.

Since I specifically said that the claim was not an attack, I'm a bit puzzled as to your objections.

Ralph Phelan said...

"Your opinions shock me."

Which ones?

Anonymous said...

KC,

This is for you: I began reading this blog because it was clear to me that something had gone badly wrong with the LAX case. Initially, I respected what you had done. I soon noticed, however, that the blog is home to a number of people who might be described as "culture warriors." In my opinion, you have lately fed their some of their nastiest impulses.

Now, no one has accused you of being stupid--nasty yes, stupid no--so I think it is pretty clear to you what I object to in your posting and "analysis" of my comment. Why do you so object to a relatively benign comment--that gay chicano literature is not more narrow than some kinds of history. Do you really think this is debatable? It's a pretty broad statement. Must ALL constitutional, diplomatic, economic, and legal history PER DEFINITION be broader (and more important)than gay chicano literature (perhaps because that's what you study)?? No, of course not. I mean, give me a break.

Where is the connection between what I said and your rhetorical, but content-null, proposal for the
Duke admissions webpage in paragrph 3?

In re: your concluding paragraph. Do we know what the alums think? Have you done a survey or are you simply assuming you are the voice of the people? Why would the Group of 88 take out an ad based on what I said? My comment was of no concern to them whatsoever. You simply made a connection because it suited you.

Not everyone who disagrees with you agree with them. The world is a complicated place. It is way more gray than black and white. People can have different opinions.

Anonymous said...

Who is the "culture warrior" defending the idea that "Gay Chicano/a Studies" are just as broad and important as consitutional, diplomatic, economic and legal history? Yes, I'm ignoring your oily qualifiers of "ALL" and "BY DEFINITION" since your arguement is meaningless unless generalizable into probable real world scenarios.

How do you define broad/narrow and important/trivial fields of study? In how they have contributed to creating civil society today? In their explainatory power of the world we live in today? In how big of an impact they have on our collective lives and socity today?

Please provide a plausible definition and example translatable into the real world of of how "Gay Chicano/a Studies" is broader and more significant than the other fields named.

If you choose to hide behind your oily qualifers your example will simply illustrate how marginal and irrelevant "Gay Chicano/a Studies" are relative to the aforementioned fields.

Anonymous said...

1:03,

I have followed your posts and KC's responses over the last few days initially with curiosity, then with amusement and now with boredom.

Early on I gave you the benefit of the doubt and deluded myself that for once we could read a reasoned defense of the G88, or at least a reasoned criticism of KC's profiles that might help us understand better the context that produced the ad.

After reading your several lenghty posts, however, I concluded that what you wrote boils down to this: You don't like KC's profiles. Why? Taking what you wrote at face value, that is, ignoring your motivation, I have no clue. Based on my own due diligence (following links, checking CVs, etc.) and my own long academic experience he got the essence right.

If you disagree with his take, provide your own. Several posters invited you to do so. To date you have not. No wonder some posters resort to speculation as to who you are and what your connection to the G88 is.

I frankly don't care whether you are one of them, a relative, a simple sympathizer, a critic who still gives them the benefit of the doubt. What you have repeated over and over is simply that KC is nasty, that his work is wanting, and tried to instill doubt in the rest of us. I don't know how representative I am, but after reading your posts I am more convinced than ever that KC is right and you are wrong.

Your latest repetition that chicano-gay literature isn't less narrow than constitutional history is laughable. You are surely entitled to that opinion, but why do you bother posting if you not even try to convince us that it has merit? I may be thick, but for all your efforts you have not moved me an inch toward your position.

Your attempt to lump all of the posters in the same category of culture warriors or racists or anti-intellectuals or whatever is dishonest and boring. It's been tried before and has not worked. And no matter how hard you try, your several attempts at raising the issue of KC's tenure battle to question his motivation has convinced me that you do not have a positive contribution to make to the discussion, you are simply trying to smear his work. Why?

After several posts, your claim that initially you were somehow sympathetic to KC's stated purpose has lost all credibility. The more you post, the more I think you are indeed being dishonest about your true objectives.

If I am wrong, I am open to being proven so by a post that takes KC to task on specific, substantial points that he got wrong and that are of sufficient import to indeed cast doubt on everything else he has done. You have previously tried nickpicking here and there on a few minor things. Unsuccesfully in my opinion. I am also convinced that if you do succeed KC will amend his posts to correct whatever errors you can demonstrate he made. Doing so would only strenghten his cerdibility and his book, and he knows it. Differently from you, he is not anonymous and whatever mistakes end up in his posts and in the book are HIS mistakes and he has all the motivation in the world to correct them.

Anonymous said...

Dear 2:55,

I didn't say anything about KC's tenure case. So, why did you bring it up?

But, I don't feel I owe you anything including reasoned discussions. You've made all kinds of accusations about me and my motivations. Fair enough, but you can't imagine that I can make reasonable arguments, so I won't.

Why would I take the time to make an argument for anyone who treats me as you do? Simple answer: I wouldn't. Not can't. Won't.

Anonymous said...

then why are you posting at all?

Anonymous said...

5:10, Indeed, I am not planning to post again. This is not a discussion forum; dissenting voices are attacked. I can understand why none of the G88 would engage in discussion with KC and/or his adherents. There is very little polite discourse; there is a great deal of attacking. If 2:55 had really wanted to hear an argument from me, s/he shouldn't have gone on the attack.

Ta, ta. I think I'll go read something interesting. Not dishwater dull constitutional, diplomatic, and/or legal history. Perhaps, Foucault or Derrida. Something stimulating.

Anonymous said...

If you are indeed reading Derrida you will certainly be expanding your horizons. You should know, however,that Derrida was Jewish, was discriminated against and denied placement in a prestigious university. The Group of 88 would probably be horrified that a supporter of Israel was cited favorably by a supporter. As for Foucault - the pendulum has certainly shifted from the know nothings at Duke to some justice for the true victims. And still only one apology leaving 87 total loons (and you)

KC Johnson said...

To the 9.36:

"What, do you think Women's Studies majors can't/don't debate? What would make you think that?"

My officemate is a women's historian, whose next book is on Mothers and Sons in the Renaissance; she's also the best extemporaneous debater I've encountered.

That said, I can see where someone who had only followed this case would consider W.S. profs unable or unwilling to debate. The only public justification from any of the W.S. Group or clarifying signatories came from Robyn Wiegman, who was made to look foolish by Johnsville News.

To the 1.03:

"In re: your concluding paragraph. Do we know what the alums think? Have you done a survey or are you simply assuming you are the voice of the people?"

In the post, I don't claim to know what Duke alums think. I suspect, if they were asked, that they would consider gay Chicano literature a narrower field than US political, diplomatic, economic, or constitutional history. I could be wrong in that supposition.

If, on the other hand, Duke were a charter school geared toward gay Chicano students, a good case could be made that most alums would consider gay Chicano literature a less narrow and more relevant field.

To the 5.31:

One reason I allow people to comment anonymously is that it seems to me hard for anyone to "attack" an anonymous commenter.

Anonymous said...

1:03 and 4:42,

Good grief, you now hide behind anonymous posting? If by some remote chance you in fact are not the poster that wrote that, just say so and pick a handle like several posters asked you to so that we can track what you do say. This crybaby attitude is just laughable -- and very reminiscent of the G88.

As someone alrady said, why were you posting at all? By all means go if you feel mistreated. You contributed nothing. We won't miss you.

AMac said...

Anonymous Commenter Who Calls KC Johnson Nasty --

While anon 2:55pm speaks for me in almost all of the points he or she raises, I would dissent in one respect.

You (namecaller, that is) are one of the few critics to make the effort to try to build an actual case that Prof. Johnson has been misleading and unfair to members of the Group of 88. By "actual," I mean an argument that is recognizable as such by people of the classical Liberal tradition, as opposed to the sort of screed that appeals to adherents of post-modernist and Gramscian world-views.

Since Prof. Johnson has shown that he's willing to host critiques, it would be too bad for the Group of 88 if you had the outline of such an essay to hand, but left it unposted and unread.

If you decide to write, your essay would be strenghtened if it cited specifics to illustrate each contention, and provided hyperlinks to source material. Those steps would elevate you above other critics of Prof. Johnson.

Wouldn't hurt to pick a pseudonym, either.

Ralph Phelan said...

Two anonymous comments, which may or may not have been posted by the same person, say:

"What, do you think Women's Studies majors can't/don't debate?"

"Is it correct to infer that your earlier comment was a blanket attack on Women's Studies and all who enter there?!!!! "

You never told me which opinions of mine appall you, so I'll give you a couple to be appalled by.

Yes and Yes.

I had the misfortune of dealing with some WS majors as an undergrad. I heard serious debate about whether BU was right to fire Mary Daley for refusing to accept male students in her classes. I saw a list of "the most influential female American philosophers of the twentieth century" that didn't include Ayn Rand. Love her or hate her (I think she's pretty lame) when one of your followers is chairman of the Federal Reserve for 19 years, you're influential by any objective measure. But then I heard it stated in all seriousness that "objectivity" was an oppressive/racist/sexist concept (see Mary Daley above.) I heard stories of ground rules for class discussions that prohibited criticizing anything anyone else said in order to preserve a "safe space". I heard a lot of cultlike argument from authority, usually citing the opinions and interpretations of someone like Judith Butler as essentially infallible.

Common debating moves used by Women's Studies majors:
(1) "I don't use linear white male tools like logic." The debate ends. I think I won, she thinks she won, the audience thinks I won.

(2) "You're sexist for believing what you do." I reply "No I'm not, I'm factually correct." The debate ends. I think I won, she thinks she won, the audience is split.

(3) Crying. The debate ends. I think I won, she thinks she won, the audience is split between those who think I'm mean and those who think whe's a wuss. (This is not just an undergrad thing - an MIT professor used a variant on this move during the Larry Summers fiasco.)

So yeah, my experience is that most WS majors can't debate because they've been raised in a combination hothouse and echo chamber where they never have to, and that the field as a whole has a shakier intellectual foundation than Kepler College.

There may be a few good people like KC's colleague hiding in the field, (he describes her research subject as "women's history" but in my observation idiocy correlates not with field of study but with departmenal affiliation. What/s hers?) but it's got far, far more than its share of academic deadwood.

And if your ilk continues to refuse to justify the value of your studies to contemptuous non-academics, you may ultimately find yourself facing their downright hostile elected representatives. While I don't approve, I do understand.

Anonymous said...

amac,

in case it was not clear, my attitude was in line with yours -- for a few of the guy's posts. Then I got bored and lost any hope that this was a person attempting serious argument. Patience is a good thing but in finite supply. When I run out, I do question one's motivation.

anon 2:55

inman said...

Ralph...

That is a fascinating piece of legislation and it includes a term with which I hadn't been previously acquainted: "viewpoint discrimination."

And I like the definition: "As used in this section, "intellectual diversity" is defined as the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious, and other perspectives, when such perspectives relate to the subject matter being taught or issues being discussed."

But I do have a question. This bill seems to grant a radical, neo-fascist and racist bigot the right to discuss their viewpoint openly in a any class that is discussing "race relations" or the notion of "racial injustice."

And if that viewpoint is discriminated against, then their are potential sanctions ---

Is that correct?

Ralph Phelan said...

I haven't studied this at all. I have no idea if such laws are a good idea or likely to be effective in general, or whether this particular instance is well-crafted.

I am just noting the the politicized university is starting to get political pushback. Not surprising, really.

It was many few years ago that I first bitter jokes about the need for affirmative action for Republicans, the most underrepresented group on campus. Apparently with time the bitterness is winning out over the humor.

Ralph Phelan said...

"This bill seems to grant a radical, neo-fascist and racist bigot the right to discuss their viewpoint openly in a any class that is discussing "race relations" or the notion of "racial injustice." "

In practice, they already have that right if they're a pro-black radical, neo-fascist racist bigot. This is an attempt to introduce some other views. And if the cost of forcing the university to accept sane people is that they also accept a whole bunch of lunatics of a different variety than the ones they've already got, well that's probably still an improvement. Having students encounter a wide variety of wingnuts, left, right and unclassifiable, may not be an ideal approach to educating them, but it's still better than having them consistently indoctrinated by a single sort of wingnut.

Ralph Phelan said...

Make that:

"It was many years ago that I first heard bitter jokes"

Sorry for not previewing.

AMac said...

anon 2:55 / 8/15/07 9:14am --

Your point is understood.

One of the aspects of this case is that the defenders of the politically-correct misconduct in the Hoax/Frame have been so ineffective, even deranged. In most other recent p.c. scandals, erudite apologists who are well-versed in the facts at least try.

I think it's helpful to hear the opposition's best arguments. Surprisingly often, they have some merit, and require the fair-minded person to adjust their views.

That's one reason I'm glad that Prof. Johnson has enabled moderation for the remainder of DiW's life. Filtering out the worst of the anti-88 invective and eliminating the instant-message chattiness provides a better space for the postmodernists, Gramscians, race-gender-class devotees, and Hard Leftists to make their cases.

Though it would be better still if they would start blogs and post links in the comments here. That's been done to an extent, though without much success to date. (I refer to "Tenured Radical," A.G. Rud/"MooDeuce," "Southern SemAntics," Amanda Marcotte, UNC's Prof. Ho, and other intellectual failures. There's also 88'er Cathy Davidson's amazingly, er, inaccurate N&O Op-Ed.)

inman said...

Ralph @ 9:52

So, are you suggesting that the legislation was intended to provide a counterweight to "pro-black radical, neo-fascist racist bigot[ry]".

Fascinating concept, but frankly I did not view it in that context. Either way, it sounds like a good thing that widely divergent views can finally be expressed without fear of retaliation. For that allows me to honor my own ancestors and my own religious heritage and my own family traditions -- without fear of discrimination. And I can assure you, that as a scion of slave owners, I have even feared that some zealous black researcher who happened upon my family's history, would come into my night and do harm.

Ralph Phelan said...

Looking into the history a bit, and, who the act is named after, it appears to be meant as a counterweight to trendy leftism and anti-white and anti-Christian prejudice.